In 1959, New York’s Museum of Modern Art sent an exhibition to eight European cities – concluding at London’s Tate gallery – with the calmly self-assured title of The New American Painting. It featured 17 artists, most of whom were associated with Abstract Expressionism, including Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Barnett Newman and Clyfford Still. Continue reading “Abstract Expressionism: what do we gain from seeing these works as a group?”
Turning the corner in the London’s Newport Street Gallery, Damien Hirst’s latest venture, I’m met by a large, blue, shiny metal sculpture, a Jeff Koons balloon monkey. I’m also met by a bevy of cameras: the young couple comparing shots on their phones, the hipster dude with a SLR slung round his neck, a girl sorting her hair before snapping a selfie. Continue reading “Art for Instagram – is social media ruining art?”
To look at a Georgia O’Keeffe painting is to see America. Throughout her career, from her first show in 1916 to the late 1970s, the indomitable artist was concerned with what it meant to paint her country – and she became captivated by the wide plains, rocky outcrops and bold blue skies of New Mexico, her adopted home. Continue reading “Georgia O’Keeffe: the painter who captured America”
No one could accuse Jamie Hewlett of resting on his laurels. The artist – who created the cartoon pop band Gorillaz with Damon Albarn, and who first found fame with the Tank Girl comic strip – has never been content with any one pigeonhole. Continue reading “Jamie Hewlett on the return of the Gorillaz and his Saatchi Gallery exhibition”
With their bright colours, delicate motion, and abstract playfulness, Alexander Calder’s mobiles ignite a childish delight in the viewer; many of the American sculptor’s other famous works – a performable model circus, wire sculptures of acrobats, dancers or animals – have also given rise to the perception of a particularly jolly artist. His studio, one imagines, would have been a treasure trove for a child. Continue reading “Alexander Calder: the artist’s grandson explains why his mobiles are more than just toys”
Marilyn Monroe’s face, printed over and over again. Cartoon-strip women, embraced by lovers or crying on the phone. Some of the most famous works of Pop Art certainly make use of the female image – but they were made by the big poster boys of the mid-20th century movement, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. They formed a colourful contingent along with, er, other white, Western men – Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, David Hockney, Allen Jones. Because Pop Art had XY chromosomes, and only spawned in New York, LA and London, right? Continue reading “Giving female Pop artists their due”
If anyone deserves to have a show at the National Portrait Gallery dedicated to photographs of their face, it’s beautiful, doe-eyed Audrey Hepburn, right? If anyone deserves to have their exhibition subtitled ‘Portraits of an Icon’, it’s Audrey Hepburn, right? She has become an icon: evoked in fashion editorials for her ‘timeless’ and ‘classic’ style; that Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster a student halls cliche; her gamine presence even posthumously inserted into adverts for chocolate. This show of 150 pictures of her neat, sweet face, her pretty pastel frocks and signature Little Black Dresses is bound to be a ticket-shifter. Continue reading “Why I’m Over Audrey Hepburn as a Female Icon”
It should come as no surprise to learn that sparks flew when Pablo Picasso met Lee Miller: he was arguably the greatest painter of the 20th century, while she had an equally extraordinary life as an American model turned Surrealist photographer turned war correspondent. And their friendship is now the subject of a new show at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Continue reading “When Picasso met Lee Miller”
There has long been an uncomfortable and gendered separation in art history between highbrow “fine art” and “decorative art” – those things deemed feminine and therefore merely pretty.
This prejudice shows clearly in the treatment of Sonia Delaunay. A crucial figure in modernist art, she has nevertheless been relegated over the years to the position of second-most-significant Delaunay – after her husband, abstract painter Robert Delaunay. Sonia also painted bright, bold abstract works, but her oeuvre, to her critical detriment, extended far wider, into fashion, furniture and illustration. Continue reading “Sonia Delaunay retrospective: Tate Modern’s new show gives the genre-busting artist her due”
The modern artist faces a conundrum: good work needs time and space, imaginative and physical. But making work also costs money; studios and materials don’t come cheap, and even aesthetes have to eat. So you get a job that pays … then you don’t have the time – or headspace – to make the work.
We hear about the super-successful celebrity artists who make a fortune – but they are the minority. For emerging artists, making work and making ends meet is rarely easy. Which is why, since 1994, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, without fuss, has been making substantial awards to British artists. Continue reading “How do award-winning artists spend their money?”